Trump’s resistance hits new low in presidential politics

Jules Witcover, syndicated columnist

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s arrogant refusal to accept his decisive defeat at the hands of President-elect Joe Biden is a raw miscalculation, assuring him an even worse place in American political history than he has already earned by his divisive and lie-infested presidency.

The soon-to-be-ousted incumbent is embarked on a certain losing course that inevitably will compound his reputation and legacy as a man ill-fitted from the outset for the high position he acquired and held through bluster, deceit and corruption for four disgraceful years.

His refusal to accede to the will of the nation’s voters in an election with record turnout, which chose Biden by a margin of some 5 million ballots, caps that public judgment. And yet Trump’s childish refusal now threatens national security. By barring Biden access to critical foreign policy intelligence as a normal element of transfer of power is unparalleled in our history, Trump invites our foreign adversaries to attempt further mischief.

By so aggressively expressing his disappointment at being a loser at home and on the world stage, Trump confirms Biden’s rationale for undoing Trump’s disastrous foreign policy, especially by restoring the historic U.S. policy of collective Western Alliance containment and cooperation, including NATO, which was born in the Cold War.

Meanwhile, Trump has attempted to throw a monkey wrench into Biden’s forward-looking efforts to get a jump on putting his administration formally in place. Trump’s head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, mandated to release federal funds for the Biden transition, as of Wednesday had not signed the necessary paperwork.

As for Biden himself, he has demonstrated considerable patience toward Trump’s attitude, saying he recognized the president’s difficulty in accepting defeat. At first he dismissed Trump’s conduct as “an embarrassment, quite frankly.”

He went on: “I understand the sense of loss. I get that,” said the man who himself had lost two prior presidential bids. “But I think the majority of people who voted for the president, they understand we have to come together.”

The president-elect laughed on hearing that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a die-hard Trumper, had said “there will be a smooth transition, to a second Trump administration.” Biden went on to say: “We’re already beginning the transition. We’re well on the way. The fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge we’ve won is not of much consequence.”

But Kathleen Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas and an Obama administration secretary of health and human services, told The Washington Post: “We are in the midst of a crisis, and what we know is that every lost day is a lost life and a lost livelihood.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer agreed. “I don’t think many of us expected President Trump would leave the office of the presidency with grace,” he said. “But the extent to which the Republican Party is legitimizing the president’s assault on our democracy is infuriating and deeply, deeply wrong.”

Trump no doubt will go on living in his self-serving, narcissistic way, maybe even believing his was cheated out of a second term. But the history books will record him otherwise, as a pathetic sorehead who got what he reaped and deserved.

Editor’s note: Jules Witcover’s latest book is “The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power,” published by Smithsonian Books. You can respond to this column at juleswitcovercomcast.net.


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